Vice President Joe Biden caused quite a stir when he revealed he officiated a same-sex wedding last Monday, though reactions on both sides mostly came from individuals.
On Friday, leaders in the Catholic Church, of which Biden is a member, responded.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops posted a statement online that, while it didn’t mentioned Biden by name, seemed to clearly reprimand the vice-president for the public action opposing the Church’s teachings, Religion News Service reports.
“When a prominent Catholic politician publicly and voluntarily officiates at a ceremony to solemnize the relationship of two people of the same-sex, confusion arises regarding Catholic teaching on marriage and the corresponding moral obligations of Catholics,” wrote Louisville Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The statement was cosigned by Buffalo Bishop Richard Malone and Miami Archbishop Thomas Wenski.
They also accused the unnamed politician of presenting “a counter witness, instead of a faithful one founded in the truth.”
The remainder of the statement focused on the Church’s teachings on homosexuality and marriage, which emphasis that marriage is between one man and one woman.
According to Religion News Service, the statement may be intentional vague because the bishops behind it don’t have jurisdiction over Washington, D.C., and a more direct message could be interpreted as telling D.C.Cardinal Donald Wuerl how to manage his flock.
If Wuerl decides to reprimand Biden, the most appropriate punishment would be to deny the Vice President Communion, which is called for those who “obstinately persevere in manifest grave sin.” Edward Peters, a canon lawyer at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, says that officiating a same-sex wedding is not currently an excommunicable offense, but Wuerl or Pope Francis could make it one.